Following a sharp drop in cases and hospitalizations following a summer surge, California now has the lowest coronavirus transmission rate of any state.
The nation’s most populous state is the only one experiencing “significant” growth “Coronavirus transmission is the second-highest level on the color-coded map created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. Puerto Rico is as well. Virus transmission is classified as “high” in all other states in the United States “In the previous week, there were 100 or more cases per 100,000 people.
The rate in California is 94 cases per 100,000 people. Texas has a population of 386 people, while Florida has a population of 296 people. According to state health officials, relatively high vaccination rates in California prior to the arrival of the delta variant made a difference, and additional measures, such as masking, also assisted in containing the outbreak. According to state data, nearly 70% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated, and another 8% have received their first shot.
“The overall secret to California has been that the vaccination rates were high enough that we started off in an OK place,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s medical school.
“We just never reached the heights we saw in Florida, for example, because that was against the backdrop of relatively high vaccination rates.”
A state mandate that requires attendees at indoor events with 1,000 or more people to show proof of full vaccination or a negative test went into effect on Monday. Previously, patrons could only attest to being vaccinated or having a negative test.
Following a summer spike in cases caused by the arrival of the delta variant, California has seen a decrease in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Over the last two weeks, daily new cases have dropped by over 4,000, a 32% decrease, while hospitalizations have dropped by 22% to just over 6,000.
The summer surge occurred after California relaxed many business restrictions in June. It came on the heels of a much more severe winter surge, during which officials closed stores and schools across the state of nearly 40 million people. Thousands of sick patients crammed many hospitals at the time, and thousands died each week.
California now has the highest death toll in the country, with over 68,000 people killed, but the per-capita rate is lower than in more than half of the states.
According to Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine, the severity of last winter may have helped temper the most recent surge in California.
“It’s a combination of immunity from vaccination and the massive winter storm that we had,” he explained.
On Monday, Los Angeles County, which is home to one in every four people in the state and has some of the strictest virus mandates in the state, reported a 1.2 percent positivity rate.
According to Barbara Ferrer, LA County’s director of public health, safety measures such as encouraging people to wear masks and restricting places where large numbers of unvaccinated people congregate are needed to prevent “a continual cycle of surges fueled by new variants of concern.”
Coronavirus cases, positivity rates, and hospitalizations have also decreased in neighboring Orange County, which has fewer restrictions than Los Angeles, according to Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county’s deputy health director. She believes vaccinations played a role, noting that the recent surge was first detected in the county’s coastal areas and other areas with lower vaccination rates.
“Everything is trending downward in terms of case rates and hospitalizations,” she said, adding that the county’s positivity rate has dropped to 3.7 percent from 6.8 percent in late August. “We are beginning to emerge from this surge, which is a good sign.”